Top of mind

Nothing deep, just things on movies, advertising, tech and games

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

I have moved..

Posted by topofmind on October 28, 2006

Thank you for checking in. You can now find my new site at Top Of Mind Blog.

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Posted in Blogs, Misc, News, Wordpress Stuff | 1 Comment »

Did the Sci-Fi Network mini-series get lost in – The Triangle?

Posted by topofmind on September 21, 2006

b000e5n6b601_ss500_sclzzzzzzz_v1138082546_.jpg More than a few movies both on and off the big screen have tried to tackle the Bermuda Triangle. The results so far have been predictably bad, until Bryan Singer of the X-Men fame and Dean Devlin of the Star Gate and Independence fame decided to do their version of it.

Last night I watched The Triangle marathon on cable. Originally produced for the Sci-Fi Network, it lasts over 225 minutes and was shown in 3 parts. It features several well known faces from TV and some from the Movies.

The premise of the series is that a eccentric billionaire (we were told he was eccentric OK?), played by Sam Neil, who has lost several ships in the Triangle puts together a team of misfits OK, not so misfits to investigate why and how his ships were lost. The incentive was an-offer-you-cant-refuse five million dollars each.

We are thus introduced to the Eric Stolz character, formerly of New York Times, but now is writing for The Observer (kinda like the Enquiere) to feed his family. Then we are introduced to Catherine Bell of JAG fame, yummm, who got fired from her job, don’t ask. Her specialty; deep seas something or the other. After, we are introduced to the Bruce Davidson character who played Senator Kelly from the X-Men movies, who plays a Psychic of dubious background and lastly to Michael Rodgers of, I dont know where this guy comes from, he speaks in an Australian accent and plays a adventurous weather scientist.

And not to forget the Lou Diamond Phillips character, who plays a Greenpeace activitist who survives the Triangle and now begins to have strange episodes.

The mini series is well researched and tries to touch all the lore surrounding it from Christopher Columbus reports to the missing flight of Avengers to the USS Cyclops.

It starts off promisingly with a series of mysteries, obligatory introduction to the five characters, their background, their issues etc.. While not the greatest of introductions it gets the job done, makes the characters more multi dimensional. But that is where they pretty much stayed until the end.

Personally I don’t think there is enough material in it to be a 225 minute presentation, it could have easily been done in 90 to 120 minutes, and it would have been a tighter and more entertaining experience. Sadly as genre fare goes, this is not a bad mini-series, in fact it is quite good – kinda like the Hallmark mini-series; but the problem I have is why do genre fans have to put up with such half-hearted attempts at mini-series. Compare this to – Battlestar Galactica from the same network and you see a big difference.

It tries to wrap up the whole Bermuda Triangle Mystery of the how and the why; while it manages to do that – quite neatly I might add, it leaves one wondering what it was all about at the end of 225 minutes with the strangely anti-climatic ending. Maybe that is one of the mysteries of The Triangle. I am fan of most of the people who are involved here – from the writers to the actors, but better to have re-watched the Battlestar Galactica or gone to see Snakes On A Plane.

Verdict : If you are a fan of genre sci-fi and have a few odd hours, do see it. But whatever you do, don’t buy the DVD.

Posted in Cool, Misc, News, TV | 2 Comments »

Google Down : Yahooing Google

Posted by topofmind on September 9, 2006

google-down.jpg A funny thing happened last night. Google was down and I had to use Yahoo search.

Google went down, google.com, gmail.com, google analytics – but not google news. I noticed it as I was searching for something. At first I thought it was my screwy connection and tried again and again. But that didn’t work. Then I had to check my gmail and that was down too. So I thought that was a temporary thing too and tried again in a minute or two and that didn’t work.

While for search it was OK to find an alternative for search engines, but not for mail on gmail. Whatever the reason for the downage – it is still down 14 hours after I first noticed it, it shows that just like Windows, just like IE from Miscrosoft, Google is becoming a target of hackers.

Perhaps there is something about size that attracts hackers on the internet. Either way is this a sign of things to come? Google has almost become an Internet utility – just like water and electricity that when it goes down (for whatever reason) it effects a lot of things.

The funnier thing of course was I had to search for “Google Down,” on Yahoo Search to find out what was going on.

Posted in News, Tech | Leave a Comment »

A Viral is not a viral, when you have to say it is a viral

Posted by topofmind on August 2, 2006

Video On You TubeWhat do you get when you put big agency egos, with the pressure to win new business, along with a need to be cool and hip? You get the following “viral,” from agency.com on YouTube. Some times you really do find some funny videos, but other times, you get videos like this.

Personally as someone who currently works in advertising, and as someone who views YouTube quite often, it is far too long and subject matter is boring for the non industry types. A tip to ad agency types who feel the urge to be in-front of the camera – for the sake of all that is holy and sacred, please don’t! Of course I will not mention the fact that there was no strategy planning other than going around with a video camera taping Don King look-a-likes in orange suites. I mean, is this guy for real??

Now all of that wouldn’t be so bad; it would have been mearly a misguided attempt to show the client what type of agency it is – it would have just been another lame YouTube video that would have disappeared into the great digital abyss, until users started posting extremely positive one line comments.

The hardcore and savvier YouTube audience quickly caught onto the fact that almost all of the positive comments were made by new users, who signed up on YouTube, about the same time the video was posted. Hint. you can check the user’s profile by clicking on the user’s name and checking out when he signed up and what his favorite videos are etc…..I clicked on a few and found that the new users were just commenting on this video only.. How is that for having street cred on the Internet? Checkout the other user comments..

And of course the other users are ROFLMAO with the whole thing. Like the man said, if you roll, you roll big. I hope they got the account after all the ridicule that they are gonna suffer..

Otherwise this could also go into the books as how their innovative Web 2.0 Initiative was successful. “OMG, we got gazillion hits and links to our video and a trillion gullible bloggers covered it.” Knowing agency types, this is what will happen most likely.. and they just might get the account.

Unfortunately this “viral” just reinforces the public perception that ad agencies are shallow, all flash and no substance. I hope never to see Part 2 of this. And what’s with asking consumers what new tag line should be?

Guys get a grip, you are in the communication business, a Viral is not a viral, when you have to say it is a viral.

Posted in Advertising, News | 3 Comments »

Will Microsoft Zune be the Apple iPod Killer?

Posted by topofmind on July 28, 2006

303317.jpgWho coined that ridicules clichéd “iPod Killer” term to being with anyway?

The tech blogs are abuzz with the confirmation from Microsoft that they will be launching Zune by the end of this year or some time around that. Anyway here are things we should know about the whole hullabaloo.

iPod cannot be killed. It already has a mass following, and they are fanatical about the iPod. Short of nuking it from orbit; just to be sure, it cannot be killed. It can be hurt – a little, maybe a small .. er prick. Besides, iPod will not sit still as Zune enters the market.

iPod literally popularized the digital music player, and made it attractive and cool to the masses. They know what they are doing when it comes to digital music. Yes, Creative was already there with it’s Zen players, but they never really attained the cult status of the iPod, even with a “open” music format. iPOD made it a success despite the fact that they had a “closed,” music format which everyone thought wasn’t so nice.

Having said that, what about Zune?

Zune, comes from Microsoft. Now that is a very bad thing – if you believe what the tech blogs are saying, mainly because it comes from Microsoft. Oh, and because it also is a “closed,” or proprietary format – which will not Play on other WMP devices.

Zune comes from Microsoft. Now that is a very good thing – for Microsoft. Other than some elitist views on all things tech, who by the way are very vocal, the general population of Tom, Dick and Harry will not really care if it comes from Microsoft or Apple.

Microsoft is an extremely valuable brand and Zune will definitely benefit from it, and also from the deep pockets that Microsoft has for mass media campaigns.

Zune is not just a digital music player, and we are not quite sure what it is. Rumors are flying around that it will allow you to share music, got Wi-Fi, watch videos, even hook-up somehow with XBOX. See a nice analysis here and an insider’s view here.. It would be cool to be able to do all of that, but then what the heck is a Zune? A Jack of all trades, and a master of none.

Personally, if this is the case, Microsoft is approaching it ass backwards. iPod started off as a simple, but extremely cool digital music player, then diversified into other things like video. It is generally easy for consumers to accept a product that does one thing well first, then expand functionality. Kinda like mobile phones, started off as a phone, then an address book, then a PDA and now a camera – but we can still choose to buy just the phone if we want to. Consumers don’t like confusion and that can hurt Zune.

So will Zune be the iPod killer when the time comes?

Most likely scenario is that Zune will repeated the PS2 Vs. XBOX fight. It will gain shares over-time against iPod, but the market dominance of iPod cannot and will not be overturned – unless in the extremely unlikely event that Apple decides to close shop. In time, it will become a respectable player in the category – just like the XBOX.

Personally I see another player (or more) entering the Mobile Digital Entertainment fray,whether it is Creative remains to be seen, and Zune will have to fight it out with that third or forth player.

Posted in News, Tech | 1 Comment »